Junior high academic teams sharpen their skills during competition

County teams conduct practice contests throughout November

Bruce Hope bruce@opcfla.com
Posted 10/21/20

ORANGE PARK – Do you know the Greek whose theorem states that the square of the hypotenuse of a right triangle is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides?

Academic teams from …

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Junior high academic teams sharpen their skills during competition

County teams conduct practice contests throughout November

Posted

ORANGE PARK – Do you know the Greek whose theorem states that the square of the hypotenuse of a right triangle is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides?

Academic teams from Green Cove Springs and Lakeside junior highs do.

Green Cove Springs defeated Lakeside, 170-140, Thursday, Oct. 15. The two teams went back and forth, but Lakeside came up short.

Richard Maly is a seventh and eighth-grade math teacher at Lakeside. He is also the coach of the academic team. He has been at Lakeside for five years and has been the team's coach since his arrival. He loves being the coach.

“You get to work with kids who don’t get to do things after school,” said Maly. “Maybe they’re not the athlete or the band person, but they want to participate in our school after school hours in extra-curricular activities, and I get to provide them an opportunity to do that.”

Michael Taft coaches the Green Cove Springs team. He has been the coach for seven years. He is a teacher of government and civics and also tutors math.

“I love questions and answers and the trivia behind it [the academic team],” said Taft. “Plus, a lot of the trivia questions and stuff, it gets the kids motivated in different parts of education that they may not have been involved in. For example, if a kid doesn’t really like science, doing this academic trivia might get them interested in it.”

Team members practice on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:45-5 p.m. between September and November.

Questions posed to students are from numerous subjects. Current events, history and math are among the different categories from which questions can be pulled.

Timothy Danz is an eighth-grader at Lakeside who is an Academic Team competitor.

“It helps refresh my memory on things I did know and things I didn’t know,” said Danz. “And it lets me learn new things. It’s just fun, kind of like Jeopardy, and it keeps my mind refreshed.”

Katie Costea is also a member of Lakeside’s team. She volunteered for the team when Mr. Maly asked during class if anyone was interested in joining the team.

Both Costea and Danz anticipate joining the academic teams at their respective high schools next fall.

Kathryn McNeill and Ellison Shipe are members of the winning Green Cove Springs team and are both eighth-graders. “I just really like trivia,” McNeill said. “I always watch Jeopardy.”

“I just really like joining clubs and doing as much I can,” said Shipe. Both will be attending Fleming Island High next year and want to continue to compete.

Taft was happy to get the win. “Lakeside is always – it’s like every year is back and forth, back and forth between Lakeside and Green Cove. Richard Maly here; he’s a great coach here at the school. I dread coming against Lakeside; I do. I dread it because I know how good he is and how hard he trains with these kids.”

By the way, the answer to the question is Pythagoras.

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